Row brews over polling station at Western Road School in Lewes

Western Road Community Primary School, Lewes.
Western Road Community Primary School, Lewes.

A primary school in Lewes has been shut for seven days since 2010 to be used as a polling station for elections.

Parents at Western Road Community Primary School are up in arms about their children losing so many days of school.

But Lewes District Council said it would be moving to a different polling station for future elections.

Dad Mark Perryman, 54, of Friars Walk, Lewes, whose son attends the school in Southover High Street, said: “Why are some Sussex schools shut for use as Polling Stations on 7 May? The Government has recently produced a report showing any loss of early years education can be detrimental and thus will penalise parents for taking kids out for term time holidays. We get the same response when teachers go on strike.

“In Lewes Western Road Primary will be shut. My child Edgar is only in Year One. This will be the third day he has lost already. By Year Six at this rate he will lose ten days.”

Mr Perryman added the council had five years to find an alternative venue for election day and refused to look at the long list of other possible election sites it was offered.

He argued no school should be used, but pointed out Southover C of E Primary School in Potters Lane had never been used as a polling station.

But a spokesperson for the district council said: “Since 2010, Western Road CP School has been used seven times for elections (six main elections and one by-election), but this is the first time we have received complaints from parents about using the school as a polling venue.

“We do not use schools where a suitable alternative is available to us.

“The Returning Officer has a legal responsibility to all electors to provide them with a suitable place to cast their vote and we looked for alternative venues for the electors of this ward.

“However, we were unable to find one which was suitable for the requirements of the poll.

“It is therefore necessary to return to Western Road CP School for this election, but we will be moving to a new polling venue for future elections.”